Sometimes reading out loud can be a little scary for a kid, but it’s a lot easier when your audience is small and very cute.
“Rosie the Library Dog” is a regular visitor in Willimantic, where she helps kids develop their skills as a certified reading therapy dog alongside her handler Devon Conover, a retired elementary educator.
Conover was looking to give back to the community in a way that incorporated her love for animals and education. She and Rosie became a certified therapy dog team through an organization called Tails of Joy, which is based in Manchester.
“Rosie’s been a therapy dog for about four years,” Conover said, “and we visit libraries and skilled nursing facilities.”
Turning reluctant readers into brave bookworms is all in a day’s work for Rosie, who isn’t there to critique or correct – just to listen and encourage. And her pint-sized storytellers say she’s an appreciative audience.
“I think she likes it,” said Rene Montalvo, who read to Rosie in Spanish, “because when I read she wiggles her tail, and that's what most dogs do when they're happy.”
But just a few years ago, life wasn’t so happy for this Corgi mix. Rosie is a former shelter dog found by a rescue group in a high-kill shelter in Alabama.
Now, one little life saved is helping set other little lives down the path to success – a reminder of the potential in every shelter pet and the power to give their stories happy endings.
Across the country, there are thousands of animals just like Rosie waiting to be adopted right now.
NBC Connecticut hopes you’ll open your heart and your home to a shelter pet during our Clear The Shelters adoption event on Saturday July 23. Click here to find a participating shelter near you.